-- Αα --
alpha: the beginning
It started with a Minotaur, a spoonful of ambrosia, and the words “You drool when you sleep.”
-- Ββ --
At first, he was just the pawn, a piece she could move around to best fit into her plans. Of course, then he went to play Capture the Flag and ended the game with a trident shimmering over his head, and everything changed completely.
-- Γγ --
The Greek pantheon practically revolved around the number three; he already had two people in his group, but she would be damned before he chose someone else to be the third person on this quest. At the age of twelve, she’d been here five years already, and she wasn’t going to let this kid run off and get himself killed like Thalia had; besides, if a son of Poseidon wasn’t the one she was supposed to wait for like the Oracle had said then really, who was?
Really, though, it only made sense for him to pick her anyway – it’s not like he knew anyone else yet – and so she joined the team, fully intent to prove herself and figure out what this whole mess about the summer solstice was about. Only, by the time they got back to Camp Half-Blood, she realized that somewhere in the middle of retrieving Zeus’s lightning bolt and saving the world she’d managed to make a new best friend as well.
-- Δδ --
delta: [mathematics] an incremental change
Thinking back, she really couldn’t say when things first began to change from Luke to Percy; if she had to pick something, it would be that moment when Percy pulled her underwater in the sea of monsters, pulled her into that silent haven where she was safe from the siren song.
They’d shown her a vision of a future that still included Luke, not Percy, but that just made it the first time she could see Luke as danger and betrayal, and Percy as safety.
-- Εε --
epsilon: [computing] a small quantity of anything;
close enough to be indistinguishable for all practical purposes
Still, even after he’d kidnapped her and tricked her into holding the sky, Annabeth couldn’t just forget Luke; she’d always have some feelings for him, just as she was starting to have feelings for Percy. After everything they’d gone through with Thalia, she couldn’t just drop him.
The biggest thing holding her back from cutting him out of her life completely, though, was the hope that he – Luke , Luke, not this new, angrier one – would still be there once all of this was over, coupled with the fear that Percy wouldn’t be. She’d heard the prophecy after all, and she knew that the son of Poseidon wasn’t supposed to live past his sixteenth birthday.
She knew she should tell him, too, but she’d sworn not to; even if she hadn’t, she’d look at him sometimes and think “ how long can this last, really? You’re supposed to die ,” and as much as she might want to tell him in times like those, she’d always stop herself just short of actually saying anything because she just didn’t have the heart to place that on him along with everything else.
-- Ζζ --
For the first time in her life, Annabeth found herself opposed to her mother’s logic. She was standing off to the side, watching the twelve Olympians bicker back and forth about the fate of her two best friends like it was no bigger deal than debating the outcome of a football game, listening while her own mother partitioned for their deaths.
Her eyes darted from face to immortal face and lingered on Zeus for a moment before she spoke up, begging the Lord of the Skies, begging everyone, to simply trust them and let them go.
She had a feeling it was more due to Artemis’s persuasion than hers, but she didn’t really care who’d done it when nine of the twelve hands went up in favor of keeping Percy alive.
-- Ηη --
They were already on a quest, she wanted to scream; they didn’t need another one when they were already busy trying to navigate the Labyrinth. Naturally, Hephaestus didn’t seem all too bothered by that fact, and so halfway through their quest to find Daedalus’s workshop they found themselves taking a detour to Mt. St. Helens as well.
In a bout of impulsiveness that was much more like Percy than herself (and just as surprising to her as it was to him, not that she’d ever admit it) she kissed him for luck before darting out of the volcano, leaving him alone in the main cavern with a feeling of intense guilt; she’d been left enough times that she’d thought she’d never have abandoned one of her friends, whether they asked her to or not.
The guilt only intensified once she’d made it outside in time to see the volcano to erupt, sending her fleeing back into the Labyrinth, until the feeling was nearly unbearable along with the sudden pang of grief and loss that told her in no uncertain terms that no matter how she denied it, she had fallen for her best friend.
-- Θθ --
theta: a symbol of death; thanatos
Annabeth wasn’t sure what it said about her as a person, but as she watched Clarisse lead a sobbing Silena away from the beach, the only thing she could think of was that she was just relieved Percy hadn’t died on the Princess Andromeda too.
-- Ιι --
iota: a very small quantity; jot; whit
It was odd in some ways, how little their lives changed after the Battle of Manhattan. It wasn’t as if there wasn’t change at all – some things were hard to ignore, after all, like the empty places at tables that had been filled by their friends the week before – but once the pain of those deaths had faded, Camp Half-Blood was back to how Annabeth remembered it, back to how it had been before Kronos had started stirring again.
There were the new cabins, too, she supposed, but all that really meant was Hermes cabin got a bit of space finally. It wasn’t like most of those campers hadn’t been here already.
The biggest change she saw was one she wasn’t sure anyone else could see: Percy was too busy making sure everyone else was okay to have time to let them do the same for him, but there was no denying that he smiled more now, and when he did, it was just slightly more relaxed, slightly less forced than it had been before. It wasn’t much of a change, but to her, it was definitely the most welcome one.
-- Κκ --
She never did ask Percy where he’d vanished to for those two weeks, after the incident at Mt. St. Helens; she didn’t need to ask to know where he’d been. She didn’t ask for the same reason he never told her: he’d made the choice to come back, and nothing else about it really mattered.
There were some days, even, when they would lie next to each other by the lake, and Annabeth would feel almost grateful to Calypso. She’d tried to steal Percy for her own, true, but she’d also healed him, given him some relief from a world that was trying to break him, and ultimately sent him back with the strength to keep going.
-- Λλ --
lambda: chevron; used as a shield pattern by the Spartan Army,
They were eighteen the summer Percy went missing; Annabeth nearly drove herself (and everyone else) crazy with trying to find him, which probably wasn’t the best impression to give the three new kids, but that wasn’t something she really cared about at that point.
By the time they’d found him, the camp was gearing up for war again; both of them watched the old campers train with a look of tired resignation, the new ones with a look somewhere between confusion and fear, and both of them felt that it was too soon, entirely too soon, to have to go through this all over again.
-- Μμ --
mu: a letter derived from the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for water
Once they’d made it back to Camp Half-Blood with the newly rescued Percy, war training was back in full swing; at first, he threw himself back into it with an almost frightening intensity that left the Ares cabin, Nico and Annabeth the only ones willing to spar with him most of the time.
If he spent hours at a time lurking at the bottom of the lake too, thinking or meditating or just brooding, no one was stupid enough to bother him about it.
And if Annabeth spent more time with him on land, giving him quiet comfort in that way they had together, no one said anything about that, either.
-- Νν --
nu: Greek νυχτες (nychtes)
His being kidnapped seemed to kick Percy’s protective side into overdrive, and even though he wasn’t the prophecy child this time, he was even more obsessed with making sure everyone else was okay than usual. And even though he wasn’t the prophecy child, he still had the demigod dreams that left him staring sleeplessly at the dark ceiling above his bed.
On nights like these, the son of Poseidon usually just gave up trying to go back to sleep; he’d had enough experience with them by now to know that even if he did manage to fall back asleep, he wouldn’t actually get any rest. Instead, he’d make his way down to the north edge of camp, sit on the sand and stare out to sea with a look somewhere between lost and thoughtful, like he knew he couldn’t do anything to help this time, but was still determined to find a way anyway.
Annabeth only found him there once, when she’d had a sleepless night of her own. She hadn’t bothered saying anything, but had just settled herself in the sand next to him and leaned her head on his shoulder, fingers twined together, waiting for dawn to break again.
-- Ξ ξ --
xi: used to represent frequency
The increased number of monster attacks that started that summer left tensions running high, and no one was surprised when the number of campers who elected to stay at camp for the year jumped; no one was surprised when arguments began breaking out, either, just as they had during the last war.
Percy argued nearly as much as everyone else, but was easily the most unpredictable about it; he’d be perfectly calm and smiling one minute, and snapping at whoever was closest the next. Chiron watched him with that ancient look in his eyes that said he was remembering past heroes, and quietly left the reminder that it was called the Curse of Achilles for a reason.
“Everybody’s frustrated and scared, Percy,” Annabeth had reasoned. “It doesn’t mean you have to take their heads off.”
He’d snapped at her in reply, and she’d snapped back, starting one of the arguments she’d just been trying to talk him out of starting.
They were nineteen when Annabeth finally gave up and walked out.
-- Οο --
The next day, Percy woke to find a veritable flock of owls perched on the roof of his cabin; each and every one was glaring at him in an unnerving, most definitely unnatural way that left him no doubt that Athena was somewhere on Olympus scheming for his painful and humiliating death.
He probably would’ve figured it out and said it on his own eventually, but with the birds following him around all day, it didn’t take long for Percy to go and admit that he had been the one in the wrong. Annabeth took him back with a shake of her head and a small smile.
“I know,” she chided, once he’d finished groveling at the front door of Cabin Six. “I just needed to make sure you knew it, too.”
-- Ππ --
Sitting under a tree in Central Park, with Annabeth pressed into his side and Nico sprawled lazily beside him, Percy thought, not for the first time, that someone really needed to give the Fates a copy of Originality for Dummies . They’d all thought it at the beginning, and they were thinking it again now, that they’d had more than enough of this the first time around; they certainly didn’t need it again so soon.
Demigods were scattered around the park. Most of them had collapsed from sheer exhaustion against the nearest tree or rock, still too stunned and relieved at having made it through alive to feel much else emotion.
Grover had run off to check on some newly homeless dryads, but Percy, Nico and Annabeth had taken advantage of the moment of quiet to rest before mortals started figuring out that it was safe to come and investigate.
Naturally, that was right about when Rachel bent double and recited the next prophecy, and the cycle started all over again.
-- Ρρ --
rho: one hundred
The day after the battle found Percy and Annabeth lying awake in bed, his arm wrapped comfortably around her waist and sun filtering in through their window.
It was the moments like these, he thought, that made turning down immortality worthwhile; it was being able to laze in the early morning sunlight, breathing in the smell that was Annabeth , that made life worth living; it was risking everything, knowing that it might not last, and finding the moments of peace together at the end that made a life measured in years worth superior to one measured in centuries.
-- Σσς --
sigma: [mathematics] summation
It said something about the life of demigods that once the war was over and the funerals done, things returned to their normal peacetime state almost before the week was up.
Despite the fact that they were both in their twenties by now, and hardly needed the protection at all anymore, they spent the rest of the summer at Camp Half-Blood. Annabeth spent her free time finding a way to get back into NYU to finish up her architecture degree, while Percy split his time between teaching classes and sparring with Nico, much to the fascination and slight consternation of their fellow campers.
Two days before they were scheduled to head back to the city, Percy and Annabeth were sharing the space under Thalia’s pine with Peleus, who had blinked at them lazily for a moment before falling back asleep, a puff of smoke curling languidly from his nostrils. Annabeth had rested her head on Percy’s shoulder, half asleep herself, when everything suddenly clicked into place for him, and he turned his head to look at her.
“So,” he started. “When are we getting married, anyway?”
-- Ττ --
It took the Aphrodite cabin all of half an hour to figure out what had happened (which was given away pretty easily by Annabeth’s making Percy get up and propose again, properly), which meant the entire camp knew in turn before lunch.
Nico greeted the announcement with a shake of his head and a muttered “’bout time,” which seemed to be the general consensus around camp; Mr. D was somehow persuaded to give some kind of toast (“yes, yes, all very nice, Peter’s finally manned up, I’m sure Athena’s thrilled ”), something else Annabeth blamed the Aphrodite girls for.
Chiron, for his part, gave his congratulations in his usual polite and correct manner, and mentioned something about how life always finds a way to go on; Annabeth smiled, Percy looked slightly confused, and the centaur left them alone to face the rest of the campers with the promise of finally having something to look forward to.
-- Υυ --
upsilon: marriage; ‘Ymenaios, god of marriage ceremonies
Their actual wedding took place at the local court house, and concluded with a small party held in Sally’s living room. They had been wary of inviting too many people for fear that any local monsters just wouldn’t be able to help themselves, and in the end, Thalia’s surprise arrival brought their total number to nine.
The most memorable part of the party ended up being Thalia holding Percy down while Nico and Clarisse shoved cake in his face; Rachel and Annabeth laughed them on, Grover nervously chewed on the napkins while Sally snapped as many pictures as her camera could hold, and Paul smiled in the background.
It was probably the best they ever could have hoped for as a wedding, but for them, it was all they needed.
-- Φφ --
phi: ancient Greek φρήν (phren) –
the seat of the intellect, feelings, and will; the mind
midriff, heart, mind, will
There were some days when Annabeth wondered how they’d ever managed to defy the odds, how they’d managed to dodge everything thrown at them, long enough to end up where they were; gods knew she had never expected it to happen this way. She put it on Percy’s ability to do the exact opposite of what anyone ever expected.
Other times she thought it was only natural. They were two sides of the same coin, heart and mind, who complimented each other just as much as they contrasted, and who were ultimately drawn together as strongly as the sun and moon, or love and war; it was one of the few times she let herself admit that Aphrodite might just be smarter than she let on.
-- Χχ --
chi: from ancient Greek χάσμα (khasma)
chasm – 5. fig. a wide and profound difference of character or position
Anyone who knew her even a little could guess that Annabeth’s biggest fear wasn’t spiders, it was being left alone; anyone who had an inkling of what he’d gone through knew that Percy had chosen to tie himself to her in the most binding way possible.
And if to anyone else it just seemed like a case of excessive separation anxiety when they were apart, that was for them to shut up and speculate on.
-- Ψψ --
psi: ancient Greek ψυχή (psyche) –
the animating principle in man and other living beings, the source of all vital activities
The eyes are the window to the soul, or so the saying said, and that was what made them what Annabeth loved most about Percy; he had eyes like the sea and a personality to match, but ultimately they were the windows to the soul that made him Percy, the soul that loved everyone enough to risk everything for, and the soul that she was determined to spent the rest of eternity with.
-- Ωω --
omega: the end
Neither one of them ever thought about the end, because both of them knew that as long as Elysium and the Isle of the Blessed existed, there wouldn’t ever be one.